In this video, learn what makes an integrative process effective, such as iterative processes, leveraging synergies among green solutions, systems thinking, and an early start.
- [Instructor] Per the USGBC, an integrative process is a comprehensive approach to building systems and equipment encouraging a holistic approach to maximize building performance, human comfort, and environmental benefits. In simpler terms, integrative process is all about bringing all key project team members together very early on and integrating all building systems to identify synergies among the building systems and solutions in a holistic way. Integrative process is an effective way of designing, building, and operating green buildings, especially due to collaboration among team members and disciplines, iterative approach to finding solutions, and a systems thinking attitude, and early start.
Collaboration of key team members during integrative process ensures the integration of disciplines and building systems. The key team members typically include the architect, owner, engineers, landscape architect, general contractor, the facilities team, and a tenant representative if possible. Consultants such as the energy modeler, commissioning agent, and lighting consultant also should not be forgotten. When the mechanical engineer is sitting next to the architect and the general contractor prior to designing the mechanical systems, ideas cross pollinate and synergies are much easier to identify.
I once sat in a meeting where the glazing selection was being discussed, and the mechanical engineer was very interested in the glazing performance since more efficient glazing affected the mechanical equipment selection. The more efficient the building enclosure is, the smaller the mechanical equipment can get. This results in reduced energy consumption and energy bills as well as reduced initial costs for the mechanical equipment. As we can imagine, with all these team members in the room together, meetings may run a little long, but it will be very hard to miss opportunities with all disciplines and stakeholders represented.
Great ideas would likely come out of this approach in early design phases. A meeting type called a charrette is a recommended tool for proceeding with the integrative process. Charrettes are intense workshops designed to produce specific deliverables by bringing together the project team with stakeholders and outside experts for creative thinking and collaboration. Generally held at the beginning of a project, charrettes assist in establishing goals. These sessions energize the group and promote trust through productive dialog, and also align team members around consistent goals, objectives, and actions.
You need to know what a charrette is, and additionally, you'll need to know that it applies to the integrative process for the LEED Green Associate exam. Integrative process uses an iterative approach, which is the opposite of the conventional linear approach. The project team iteratively sets goals, explores ideas, develops solutions, maximizes synergies, tests solutions, refines solutions, and receives feedback until all of the project's sustainable goals are met.
A building is quite a complicated structure composed of various systems that work together with various interrelationships. One decision made for a system may have an adverse effect on another system. For example, improvements in the building envelope to reduce air infiltration may have a negative effect on air quality and occupant comfort. A systems approach encourages all disciplines to work together to design, build, and operate a building for optimum performance, taking a holistic approach.
Daylight and artificial lighting design, envelope design, heating and cooling systems, even the color and texture of finishes all affect each other. An integrated team works together integrating all systems and maximizing synergies. An integrative process ideally starts during the pre-design phase when goals are clarified and changes can easily be made based on analysis of various solutions. Throughout the integrative process, the project team understands building system interrelationships and takes advantage of synergies among these systems and green building solutions.
Benefits of integrative process include maximized synergies among building systems due to the systems approach, reduced cost and improved schedule due to a reduced number of conflicts caught before construction, and maximized green building solutions, and increased number of LEED points due to starting early and collaboration. In the exam, you may be tested on your knowledge of what makes up an integrative process, which includes its iterative nature, systems thinking approach, focus on collaboration of team members and disciplines.
You should also know that integrative design results in success when started early. Its mostly important benefit is the early identification of green building synergies, and reduced cost as a result. Today, integrative process is not very commonly implemented for projects despite the many benefits it offers. In my opinion, the reason for that is reluctance to change the conventional way projects are designed, competitively bid, and built for decades. Another reason is that integrative process may require more attention and time from the project team in early design phases, and may require multiple iterations.
This may mean added design time and increased fees. One way to ease into this approach may be piling the integrative process on a few projects to understand how it works and what benefits it offers.
- LEED impact categories
- Smart growth vs. urban sprawl
- Alternative transportation strategies
- Sustainable site construction and design strategies
- Strategies for reducing indoor and outdoor water use
- Renewable energy production, green power, and carbon offsets
- Energy efficiency, metering, and demand response
- Building product disclosure and optimization
- Indoor air quality management design strategies